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Next U.S. Defense Secretary Panetta backs significant Afghan withdrawal

WASHINGTON — Leon Panetta, the nominee to be the next US defense secretary, said Thursday that he backed a significant troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in July, in an apparent break with outgoing Pentagon chief Robert Gates. “I agree with the president’s statement,” Panetta told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl…

U.S. drone strike kills 6 in Pakistan, first since March

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – U.S. drone aircraft fired four missiles in Pakistan’sSouth Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday, killing six militants, days after the head of the country’s intelligence agency called for an end to the strikes that have caused deep anger. The missiles were fired from two unmanned planes and aimed…

Obama counterterrorism adviser slams congressional efforts to block Guantanamo’s closure

President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, delivered the administration’s most forceful public call to date for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center and the use of federal courts to try some detainees held there. Pointing the finger at Congress, he called legislative efforts to block prisoner transfers…

US leads call for ‘concrete’ change in Egypt

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama led increasingly hoarse Western calls for “concrete” change in Egypt as President Hosni Mubarak on Friday clung to power after wrong-footing the world by deciding not to quit. Obama issued a strongly-worded statement late Thursday after a day of drama in Cairo in which…

Pakistan cuts NATO supply line after border firing

Pakistan blocks war supply route to Afghanistan after NATO allegedly kills 3 border guards. Pakistan blocked a vital supply route for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan on Thursday in apparent retaliation for an alleged cross-border helicopter strike by the coalition that killed three Pakistani frontier troops. The blockade appeared…

US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair resigns

Dennis Blair, President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, resigned Thursday following a series of intelligence failures and a tenure marked by rocky internal struggles. A retired Navy admiral, Blair was the third director of national intelligence, a position created in response to the 9/11 attacks. The Director of National Intelligence…

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